Thursday, October 30, 2008

Viswanathan Anand - Genius & World Champion from India

Viswanathan Anand emerged victorious today in the FIDE World Championship challenge match played against Vladimir Kramnik in Bonn, Germany. The victory makes Anand the undisputed World Champion in chess for two years in running. Anand had won the double round-robbin world championship held in Mexico city in 2007 . However , he was forced to play this one-on-one, 12-round challenge match against Kramnik (winner in 2006) as Kramnik had the right to challenge Anand for the crown. Anand had termed this rule of right-to-challenge as "ridiculous" earlier but like a true sportsperson moved on to play the match and defeated Kramnik 6.5 to 4.5 overall ; when the 11th game was drawn today bringing the fortnight-long match to an end.
Chess may not be a spectator-friendly sport but has its own share of countless players & fan-followings ,who prefer the brain over the brawn, across the world. Its a game that has been dominated by Russians in the past decades. Its an immense joy to find an Indian sportsperson single handedly breaking the domination and ruling the chess world in circa 2008.
Since Anand became Grand Master in Chess in 1988 at the age of 18, he has performed in the topmost echelon of international chess for 20 years . In the process he picked up 5 Chess Oscars, 3 world championship titles & numerous other titles. No other Indian sportsperson has performed so consistently in the highest level of any international sport for two decades at a stretch.
Anand has already received the highest civilian award for a sportsperson from India , Padma Vibhushan (2007) as well as the highest sports award , the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award (1992). The Government of India will have to institute a completely new civilian award to honour outstanding achievers like Anand, who will never get a Bharat Ratna (highest civilian award in India) as sports persons are not eligible for this award.
Isn't it a shame that while outstanding achievements in literature & arts qualify for Bharat Ratna (apart from public service & scientific achievements), achievements in sports do not count?Till the time , a special award is created for Anand , we congratulate & bow to this exceptional genius for bringing glory to himself & a nation of 1 billion Indians .

Picture Source : Cristi Dorombach on flickr.


Sid Sinha said...

Anand's feat is truly amazing. His wins in this match were very forceful. He had ended up with an extra queen on both the occasions. And in Mexico, 2007, he hadn't lost a single match !

And to be reckoned among the top 5 or 10 players in the world for the last 20 years: is just immense !

Well, and Salty, why don't you try and avoid red fonts on a dark blue background. A lighter background is more soothing to the eye.


Salty said...

After reigning for 6 years (2007-2013) as the undisputed world champion of chess , the Indian genius Anand had to yield to the young Norwegian Magnus Carlsen in a 12 round world championship match held in Chennai,India from 10-23 Nov,2013.
The first two rounds ended in quick draws after exchange of bishops & queens as the players were settling in. The next two rounds were also drawn but the players fought on the board for more than 6 hours in each of these games.The 4th game, in particular, was a brilliant game of plays & counter-plays that left the young prodigy apparently exhausted & the experienced genius was unable to drive home any learned advantage. However then Carlsen won two successive games with his accurate play in the end game with an active King & passing pawns while surprising Anand with his c4 opening in the 5th game. The 7th and 8th game were cautious draws as Anand was more focused on stopping Magnus's momentum. But in the 9th game, as Anand pressed hard for a win and possibly was veering towards a possible draw he blundered under time pressure, made a completely wrong move and resigned. The 10th game was played for a draw till only the kings were left on the board.
While it'll come as a surprise that Anand didn't manage a single win,it is important to remember that Carlson has been number 1 in Elo rating since last 4 years & his rating has never dropped below 2800 since then. Carlsen's time was destined to come and it came here in Chennai as he outplayed Anand 6.5-3.5 with blitz openings, forcing mid-games and accurate end-games.
Although every genius finally reaches his own level of incompetence against the succeeding superior one; Anand will be remembered for keeping Indian flag flying in the topmost level of world chess for 2.5 decades now and surely for more to come. Who knows Anand (now 43 yrs old) might even take the world championship crown taking heart from the fact that a Russian Mikhail Botvinnik had become a third-time world champion (through a rematch-system, now abolished, against an young Latvian prodigy Mikhail Tal) in 1961 at the ripe age of 50?
But till then, hats off to the greatest Indian sportsperson, for mesmerizing his fans with his world-class chess-craft!

JAS said...

Whoever knew that it'd be within an year that Anand would be facing off Magnus again for the World Championship crown in Sochi, Russia from 8th-24 Nov,2014. Hats off to Anand's tremendous comeback-spirit,(triggered after reportedly a pep-talk from Kramnik during a dinner in London) motivation & form that he won the double-leg round-robin Challengers in Khanti-Mansiysk in March this year, beating off the right of rest of the 7 top chess players to challenge World Champion Magnus in Sochi.
In Sochi at least Anand pulled off a much better show than he did in Chennai last year , winning one game out of 12 (losing three) and largely in control of the game. In Chennai, he was out of sorts with Magnus since he had mentioned that Carlsen's long & accurate end-games and multiple turnarounds were off-putting to him & he lost the crown without winning a single game ,while losing three. In Sochi however; at 1.5-1.5 points apiece at the end of the third game, Anand played eight more equally brilliant games (with the 7th game going on for six hours for an honorable draw.) Eventually two unguarded moments decided the championship.In the sixth game, Anand made an unforced error (overlooking a previous unforced error from Magnus) by not playing Ne4 (instead of preplanned a4 that was played almost without thinking within a few seconds). And in the 11th game, he self-admittedly gambled a rook-sacrifice in the 27th move that failed to crack up Magnus's nerves under considerable time pressure. 24 year old Magnus was steady throughout, displaying solid match temperament coupled with accurate plays and quick turnarounds (in a few mid-game positional setbacks)to deservedly retain his crown.
Some completely out-of-the-textbook games were played during the second leg where Berlin defense( propounded ironically by Kramnik when he had defeated Kasparov) were prepared for and adopted by both the players. So spectators were delighted too.
Sochi will be (less) remembered by Anand for his Ne4 & Rb4 moves but more remembered for his tremendous comeback at the ripe age of 44. And that itself should provide Anand sufficient motivation to continue playing at the top level for some more years unless the man decides otherwise.
After all said and done,"Once a champion ....always a champion!!"